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tv   This Week With Christiane Amanpour  ABC  April 24, 2011 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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this week, god and government. >> let us all say amen. >> as christians around the world celebrate easter. [ speaking a foreign language ] ♪ alleluia alleluia >> we ask some of america's influential pastors in these turbulent times has america lost its way? >> the spirit of anti-christ is in the world today. >> what's the role of worship in washington? >> it calls me to pray. it calls me to ask god for forgiveness. >> plus, taxes and budget cuts. what would jesus do? welcome to our viewers here and around the world. this easter sunday we come to
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you from plymouth church of the pilgrims here in brooklyn, new york. it's a house of god that is steeped in american history. in the 1800s, it was a stop on the underground railroad, the secret network that carried slaves escaping to freedom, and abraham lincoln worshipped here in this very pew, and martin luther king preached an early version of his "i have a dream" speech from the pulpit behind me. and their causes like so many in u.s. history were built on foundations of faith and morality. and so we thought this a fitting place to debate the influence of religion on the great issues of our time, the budget battle that's raging, taxes, civil discourse. this week we explore god and government. the link between politics and the pulpit has always been strong and no one has been a spiritual adviser to more presidents than the reverend billy graham. these day, though, it's his son franklin graham who continues his father's crusade preaching
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to millions of people all around the world. he also serves as the president of samaritan's purse which is an international aid organization that does relief work in the developing world with missionary zeal. but this easter sunday reverend graham tells us his most pressing concerns lie closer to home inside the souls of americans and at the seat of government. reverend graham, thank you for joining us very much, indeed. >> thank you. >> easter is obviously an enormously important holiday for christians around the world. what's the word that you most dearly associate with easter? is it sacrifice? is it love? what is it? >> it's all of that. it's god's love. it's the sacrifice of jesus christ. for me when i look at easter, i look at my sins and realize that jesus christ paid my debt in full when he died on that cross. he died for me. he died for you, christiane. >> you have also said we live in
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the time of the anti-christ. >> yes. >> how do you reconcile those two? >> i look at the world in which we live today. and the secularism is anti-christ. it's every bit anti-christ. we can't talk about jesus in our schools. god has been kicked out of our government. and whether it's europe or whether it's here, yes, the spirit of anti-christ is in the world today. >> we in this country and around the world are living in very dire times right now, dire financial times, economic crisis, the gap between rich and poor is growing, not only here but all over the world. what can the church do to fill that gap and to step into that gap? >> christiane, a hundred years ago the safety net, the social safety net in the country was provided by the church. if you didn't have a job, you'd go to your local church and ask the pastor if he knew
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somebody that could hire him. if you were hungry, you went to the local church and told them, i can't feed my family, and the church would help you. that's not being done. the government took that and took -- and took it away from the church and they had more money to give and more programs to give and pretty soon the church has just backed off and as a result, now you have generation after generation of pastors and churches that have not done that. and you would have to teach them again how to do it. >> you do a lot of work not just in the united states but overseas. you've been all over the world to africa, asia, haiti and most recently to japan. and you have said that so many of these earth-shattering events that we're experiencing over the last few years, whether it's natural disasters, wars or whatever it is is almost like the labor pains for the second coming. >> well, jesus said these events
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would come with more frequency and would increase in intensity just like labor pains so that's what the bible says. >> so describe what sort of era we are biblically right now in terms of a second coming, in terms of a change? >> i believe there's no question, i believe we're in the latter days of this age. when i say latter days, could it be the last 100 years or the last 1,000 years or the last 6 months, i don't know, but the bible, the things that the bible predicts, earthquakes and famines, nation rising against nation, we see this happening with more frequency and more intensity, but there's other things, when the anti-christ comes, we talk about the number of the anti-christ that he will have an economic mark that will be either on your forehead or on your right hand or your forehead and that economic mark, you can't buy solar trade unless you have that number. >> you believe in that. >> i believe the bible, christiane, from cover to cover,
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absolutely word for word i believe the bible. >> so what will the second coming look like? >> well, the bible says that every eye is going to see it. and, you know, i thought how is that going to happen? there's so many phones today. and just look at what's happening in libya or egypt and everybody has got their phone up, and everybody is taking recordings and posting it on youtube and whatever and sending it to you or -- and they get shown around the world. i don't know but he said they'll be coming on the clouds and the world is going to moan. they're going to groan. >> i don't mean to be disrespectful but could there be a second coming by social media? is that what you mean? >> no, i'm just saying the whole world will see him when he comes, and he's coming back for his people. how is the whole world going to see him all at one time? i don't know unless all of a sudden everybody is taking pictures and it's on the media worldwide. social media could have a big part in that. >> you've made some very controversial comments about islam, about
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muslims, including on our program when we had our town hall that you joined us on a few months ago. do you still feel that there is a real divide between islam and christianity in this country? >> first of all, i love muslim people. i don't believe that mohamed can lead anybody to heaven. i believe that jesus is the way, the truth and the light. that's what i believe. >> your father, who has been an adviser at the highest levels of power in the united states for so long, how does he think of today's america and today's christian world? >> well, i was with him not long ago, and he said, the world in which i was born i don't recognize anymore. he just doesn't recognize the world in which he grew up where people were civil to each other, politicians, even though they may disagree, were polite to one another and worked together. all of that has changed in our country today. >> you have traveled to haiti
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with sarah palin. >> uh-huh. >> is she the kind of candidate you would like to see run for election? would she be your candidate of choice? >> i don't think sarah is going to -- i don't think -- she likes politics. i think she likes speaking on the issues, and i agree with many of the issues that she brings up, but i believe -- i don't see her as running for president. >> if she did, would you support her? would she be your candidate? >> it depends on who the other candidates are. >> so that's not a yes. >> no, i mean we're so early, but i mean i do like sarah. >> the people in right now, would you support mitt romney, would you support donald trump? >> i've met mitt romney. no question he is a capable person. he's proven himself. donald trump, when i first saw that he was getting in, i thought, well, this has got to be a joke but the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe the guy is right. so there's a -- >> he might be your candidate of choice. >> sure, yeah. sure. >> president obama has come to
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you and your father. you've all prayed together. how would you say he's doing? >> i think he's a very nice man. i think he's a very gracious person. but i think our country is in big trouble. >> does it bother you that people like donald trump, for instance, right now are making another huge big deal about birth certificates and whether he's a muslim or a christian and where he was born? >> well, the president i know has some issues to deal with here. he can solve this whole birth certificate issue pretty quickly. i don't -- i was born in a hospital in asheville, north carolina, and i know that my records are there. you can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when i was born. i don't know why he can't produce that. so i'm not -- i don't know but it's an issue that looks like he could answer pretty quickly. as it relates to muslim, there
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are many people that do wonder where he really stands on that. now, he has told me that he is a christian but the debate comes, what is a christian? for him going to church means he's a christian. for me the definition of a christian is whether we have given our life to christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our lord and savior. that's the definition of a christian. it's not as to which church you are a member of. a membership does not make you christian. >> do you believe him when he tells you he's a christian? >> of course, i am not going to say, well, no, you're not. god is the only one who knows his heart. >> thank you very much indeed. >> thank you. and coming up, a religious renewal in the unlikeliest of places, new york city. i'll talk to a pastor who battles the demons of wall street greed and the dog eat dog culture of success. all of that and a special easter sunday roundtable when god and government continues. easter sunday roundtable when god and government continues.
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a lot of times, things are right underneath our feet, and all we need to do is change the way we're thinking about them. a couple decades ago, we didn't even realize just how much natural gas was trapped in rocks thousands of feet below us. technology has made it possible to safely unlock this cleanly burning natural gas. this deposits can provide us with fuel for a hundred years, providing energy security and economic growth all across this country. it just takes somebody having the idea, and that's where the discovery comes from. it just takes somebody having the idea, somewhere in america, a city comes to fe. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens
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are ready to do it again. siemens. answers. reverend tim keller came to new york city with a daunting mission, to bring the gospel to a town that all too often is written off as a modern day sodom and gomorrah. he came to preach to the masters of the universe, wall street wizards, media moguls but started with a mere 75 members. that was 22 years ago and then a watershed moment, september 11th. on the sunday after the attacks, 5,000 people showed up at his redeemer church and ten years later they're still lining up. there's no grand cathedral, not even a small chapel, keller rents spaces around town every sunday spreading the good news
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in a city long thought too tough to tame. i spoke with him at one of his borrowed pulpits, the first baptist church of manhattan's upper west side. first, thank you for joining us, mr. keller. >> glad to be here. >> you know, it seems that at the beginning of the last century, so many of the great thinkers were saying, religion is dying. it's dead. and yet here we are so many years later and it's not just enduring, one might say it's even thriving, it's undergoing a renaissance. how do you account for that? >> many of the people who believe that thought that religion was really for immature people who didn't understand nature, and it's pretty clear that the reasons religion are deeper than that because as we've gotten more technologically advanced, it hasn't gotten rid of religion. >> and how also do you account for the fact that there is so much more secularism and yet there is also so much more religion in our lives, in our politics? >> what's happening is secularism and devout religion is growing together and what's
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going away is a kind of mushy middle where people are just part of the synagogue, the mosque or the church because it's expected. so what's actually happening is polarization. >> you've talked about an enormously sick pressure to do well and to make money. what toll does that take on people and on this country? >> it takes a huge toll. i think most people agree that the economic downturn recession we just had came to some degree because of greed. i don't know of anybody in or outside the financial world that doesn't admit to that and that's taken an enormous toll. >> you also say that things like hard work or too much hard work is an idol that has to be shattered. why is that? >> well, because the essence of sin according to i think the christian view is it's not just doing bad things, it's also turning good things into ultimate things. and, therefore, for example, if
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you love your children, that's one thing, but if you make your children's happiness the very meaning of your life, you'll put too much pressure on them. you might drive them into the ground. you might abuse them if they disobey you, so even good things that have become kind of god substitutes turn into bad things. >> like hard work, like success, money? >> workaholism. there's nothing wrong with wanting to make money but when it becomes an end all be all then you start to trample on people and it eats you up. and you're not -- it can't fulfill your soul. >> america is based on this idea of workaholism and the desire of success and yet you're sort of questioning it. >> yes, the gospel, christianity is going to question every culture at its root. eastern, nonwestern cultures put this huge emphasis not on the individual but on the family. what matters is not your own individual success, it's the family, and we would say that's good but it can turn the family
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into a kind of dictatorship whereas in the west it's all about the individual and we would say that's good except individual freedom is great, we're all for it, but it does mean it's dog eat dog, people are consumed by their need for beauty. >> so the dog eat dog idolatry that you obviously are preaching against, is that something that you saw a lot of in this sort of era of financial crisis that we live in in this very difficult economic time that we live in? >> yes, and it's certainly contributed to what we went through. i've seen it, and i've actually told people if you put things in perspective, you probably won't make as much money or you might. you might -- you will not probably rise as high on the ladder. you ought to be giving more time to family. you ought to be giving more time to relationship, to god. more time to the poor. but you're also going to be way happier in the long run and many people are listening. >> you talk about polarization between left and right. it does seem to be extreme at
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the moment in the united states. >> yes. >> politically, socially. is there any hope that that can change, do you think? >> it will start if we stop demonizing each other. my elderly mother once said that up until about 15 years ago if you voted for a different person for president and the person you voted against became president, you still considered him your president. she said 15 years ago that changed, that if you voted against that guy and he became president, you actually act as if he's illegitimate. and i'm not sure -- that is a big social/cultural difference. we -- and it really means the other side isn't really just wrong, they're kind of evil. and that's pretty bad. >> i have to say that many would say the church plays into this highly acrimonious debate, public debate, not all churches but certainly some parts of the church.
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what should the church be doing different? >> at the very least we should be creating individuals who know how to talk civilly. the gospel should create people who say i'm loved by god but i'm a sinner, so there should be a certain humility and graciousness about the way in which you talk to everybody. as an institution, most of the churches have lost a lot of credibility, so i think my job is to create individuals who can participate in civil discourse. >> you're saying institutionally the church has lost credibility. >> the main line church identifies with liberal politics and evangelicals have identified at least identified in people's minds with conservative politics. the catholic churches has had its sex scandals so institutionally each church has lost credibility. so i think it's our job as individual congregations to care for the poor, to produce civil people who speak civilly to just serve our neighborhoods and serve people and be careful about speaking ex cathedra about these great political positions
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or issues. >> so the church should be less political? >> i think so and i do. i personally think the church as the church ought to be less concerned about speaking the politics and more concerned about service. >> thank you very much, indeed. and up next, the battle on capitol hill and in statehouses around the country. the issues are complex and today our question is where does faith fit in? our special easter sunday roundtable tackles that one when "this week," god and government continue. ♪
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beliefs on both sides and the conviction that the very future of the country is at stake. these debates resonate especially deeply in the faith community and they're the focus of our roundtable this easter morning. so with me today, dr. richard land of the southern baptist convention, eboo patel, founder of the interfaith youth core and a former member of president obama's faith advisory council and the reverend al sharpton of the national action network and abc's cokie roberts and her husband steve roberts, journalists and authors, an interfaith couple, catholic and jewish and their new book is called "our haggadah." thank you all for joining us. one of the huge issues we're facing right now is this budget, some say war, others say debate, conservatives, dr. land, are painting this almost as a moral issue. why is that? what are the spiritual dimensions of this? >> well, we're borrowing between 40 and 41 cents out of every
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dollar that we're spending at the federal level, and many, many americans and i would include myself among them see that as generational theft. in theft there is a commandment against that in the bible. we're literally stealing our children and our grandchildren's future. >> there's also a commandment about charity and righteousness and in the jewish tradition the word is sadoko and the word means charity and an obligation of righteousness. to take care of your neighbor i understand the question of theft but there's an equally powerful religious argument to be made as a nation providing for the least among us. and that is equally powerful. >> but also deal with -- >> not money you steal from others. >> but i think if you want to deal with theft, then we ought to talk about the rich paying their proper share of taxes and -- >> they're paying over 50% now. >> i think that when we deal with the fact that those that
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raise the moral issue around generational theft but at the same time want to give tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, it would seem to me that our children would have to ask, who is really robbing us? >> there are a couple of things here. one is that setting of priorities inside the budget so that when you're talking about taking away money from our children, yes, everybody is concerned about the debt and the deficit. that's a given. but then you say, okay, what do we spend our money on and that's where when you -- catholics call it a preferential option for the poor, so you have those concerns, but also i think, dr. land, that there are other values other than standard of living. and that one of the things that we also do want to pass on to our children is a sense of this country all being in it together and that that's been the great american tradition and not the haves and have-nots and i think
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that is something that we also have to -- >> let me turn to eboo on that note. you are a muslim. you have been on president obama's interfaith reach out panel. many of the catholics in this country had set a standard for charity in the early days. i know the muslim community looks at it, as well. what sort of examples do you think your community is trying to get for themselves in this regard? >> well, my son goes to catholic school, and this being easter week, we're talking a lot about jesus, and muslims have a different theological view of jesus than christians do, but what we share with christians is the idea of jesus as a messenger of mercy, as an exemplar of mercy, and the good samaritan story is a perfect example of this, that the good neighbor, the one that achieves eternal life in the story is the one that is a mercy upon the traveler stranded by the side of the road. that's the conversation i'm having with my son right now. >> and jesus is also a truth teller and some economic systems work better than others.
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india and china have alleviated far more poverty since they abandoned communism and socialism and adopted capitalism than they ever did or would have under socialism or communism. >> i don't know anybody here who is against capitalism. >> no, but you have diminishing returns. >> jesus always challenged the rich. this is the jesus that told the rich man to give to the poor. there's no record anywhere in the gospels where jesus did not always challenge the rich. and i don't understand how people can come in his name and keep giving a pass to the wealthy. which jesus are they -- >> i'm not arguing for giving a pass to the wealthy. what i'm saying is that if you -- when you have confiscatory tax rates, and taxing people over 50% that's close to confiscatory. they do not create wealth. they do not create wealth. i'm talking about state, federal state and local taxes. >> how do you then say to your parishioners, what are their obligations?
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what as people of faith when you preach to them, what do you tell them is their obligations, their moral tradition to deal with the poor? >> i'm glad you asked that. first of all, we have a requirement, it's a moral requirement and a spiritual requirement to give 10% of our income to the church for charitable purposes and in the tax debates, the idea that we might eliminate the charitable deduction as a way to save money it seems to me is not cutting off your nose to spite your face. >> i agree with. >> it's cutting off your head because we've been among the most generous people in the world and one reason is our government has incentivized people to give and they give more when they give to what they want to give to. >> cokie? >> that's absolutely right, i mean, and it is also true that the spirit of charity and volunteerism in this country is unlike any other place on earth so that there's a tremendous amount of personal commitment. the question then is what's the government's role?
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>> well, i wanted to ask you that. you heard reverend graham saying that, in fact, the church is not able to play as big a role as it used to as a public safety net. he says that the country has become too secular. the government has moved into the space where the church should be. what do you think the role of the church should be? can it provide the kind of safety net it used to? >> i think the church must set first a moral tone, and if the church does not set that kind of moral tone, if jesus' message is to resonate during the easter season, it is that we've got to care for the least of those. that should be reflected in the public policies that we support. >> when you talk about tithing, i mean for our national identity, our national church, our national religion, taxes is a tithe. and it's the same moral principle that you're obligated to contribute part of your wealth to help others. the notion that tithing is okay but taxing the wealthy in a civic context i think is -- >> i'm not saying taxing the
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wealthy is something you can't do, but the point is we're going to have to make distinctions between those who really need help and those who don't. we can no longer afford these universal programs that cover everyone from the rich to the poor. >> i think there's an awful lot of common ground here, and i think it would be useful to have the discussion on common ground. i think we americans across the board want to make sure that we encourage work, that we reward excellence, that we expand opportunity and that we provide basic dignity and security. the question is what's the balance between government agencies and private institutions and what's the partnership? >> i want to ask each and every one of you what do you think are the key spiritual issues of our time right now, the priorities, dr. land. >> key spiritual issues? >> yeah, the pressing spiritual issues. >> i think we need more americans to make god serious in their lives and to ask what god would require of them in their personal lives, in their lives as parents and in their lives as
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citizens. >> cokie, americans are very faithful. this is a country of deep faith no matter what faith. what is the most pressing spiritual situation? >> i say materialism. i guess i have to go with the pope on that one, that it is worrying too much about things and not enough about spirit. >> and, steve, you heard tim keller say that one of the idols of our time that needs to be broken is the dog eat dog intense materialism, the religion of workaholism. and just dedication to success. do you see that as an issue? >> i do, but i think an even more pressing spiritual issue is tolerance. our whole history has been replete with spasms of intolerance and eventually we overcome them and we have to do it again. >> reverend sharpton, what do you think is the pressing issue that we face? >> i think the oppressing, depressing thing is we must rise above our comfort zones of
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wherever we are based on religion or race or even economic standing. if -- with all of us sitting around this table from different faiths, if those that we learned and emulate the faith, if mohamed and jesus and moses set out, they wouldn't have a problem. it's those that come in their names that have so polarized american and world society, and i think if we sought to rise to the level, the thinking, the spirituality of those that we claim to follow, we would be able to break those barriers down. >> eboo? >> let me first say that some of my secular friends are the kindest warmest best people that i know so i don't want them to leave them out of an important part of america. they're an important part of my life. having said that i think the role of religion is going to play in the 21st century is going to be one of the key issues. faith can be a bomb of destruction, it can be a barrier of division or it can be a bridge of cooperation. our job is to make it a bridge of cooperation. >> and we're going to pick that up when we return right after a break.
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stay tuned for more of our easter edition of "this week," god and government. ♪ alleluia ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ alleluia when we return, tolerance and civility in a turbulent world. and civility in a turbulent world.
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welcome back. one of the big issues right now is the state of public
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discourse, civic discourse in this country. we're going to continue our roundtable on this issue. where does religion stand in trying to bring people together, in trying to have a civil public discourse on some of the huge issues that we have to solve as a country, as a civilization? cokie? >> well, one would hope that religion stands in the place of trying to make people come together on high ground, but the fact is is that there's lots of arguing and yelling and screaming, and it takes place among religion people in some cases inside churches. i don't want to go too far on this because keep in mind in this country we're not fighting with each other over religion, and that's happening in most parts of the world. >> precisely. we're not fighting necessarily over religion, but religion and faith and spirituality and scoring points for our own side comes into these political debates all the time. what can religious leaders, what can you do, for instance, to
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change the tone of debate? everybody spoke a lot about it in january after that tragic attack on gabrielle giffords and suddenly gone. what should we be doing to bring the discourse together? >> well, we should be calling people on the carpet who demonize their opponents and who attack their motives. we don't know what people's motives are. >> but part of what the clergy has to bring to the table here is more humility. i believe that the -- that it's profoundly useful and important that religious inspired people join the american discourse and have a seat at the table. but when they get to the table and they say, i have the one true faith and the one true way, that injects a note of rigidity and intolerance of public discourse which can be very damaging and i think that one of the ways religious leaders can contribute to civility is by being more humble about their sense that they have the one true word and the one true faith. >> i have found that lack of humility is something that's a
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monopoly of religious leaders. >> i don't think others profess to represent a higher calling. so i think it does fall on religious leaders or those of us that are in the public arena but coming from a religious motive. i grew up here in brooklyn and sometimes my passion would outrun where i should have cut off because there's -- where do you go over the line where your passion becomes incendiary? and i had to check myself. sometimes your vanity can outrun your sanity. and it doesn't mean you're wrong, but it does mean if you're going to represent a higher principle, you should act that way. i remember 20 years ago i was stabbed leading a march in brooklyn. and my mother said one thing to me, she says, what would dr. king do who preached in this church? and i went to the court and testified on behalf of the assail apartment who tried to kill me which everyone was shocked. the message to me was why were they shot because i wasn't giving that kind of image. so i think we all have to be
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self-reflective, but i would disagree that we're not fighting over religion because some of the islamophobia that we've seen demonstrated in the last couple of years is a fight over religion, and i don't think we've dealt wit. >> we have a remarkable opportunity in this country. this is the first nation that brings people from the four corners of the earth from every conceivable ethnic, racial, religious national background to build together a country. we have an opportunity to be a city on a hill where the mosque, the synagogue, the church, the tsonga, the secular community works together where too often they're at each other's throats. >> reverend sharpton? >> that happens more than it doesn't. we shouldn't forget when we talk about incivility now, just a few years ago there were children being bombed in a church, there were people being beaten throughout the south, you know, and we came together as a country and passed the laws that
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made it possible for mississippi to now have the most number of black elected officials of any state in the union, so i think that, you know, we do overcome these things. we have to fight to overcome them, and we must do that, but we shouldn't be too despairing. >> let me go to eboo's point and actually to reverend sharpton's point about islamophobia. obviously islam has been injected into politics and most particularly after 9/11. what are you concerned about for your own children for the future of your community? what is your community worried about now? >> well, my community very clearly is worried we'll be less free and less equal in america than other americans, that when we turn on the television, we're going to watch a set of american politicians pandering for votes by spreading fear and hatred of people like my children that when some twisted terrorist carries out unspeakably horrible acts in the name of islam, people will look at that tv and draw a straight line between that person and -- >> history tells us that that will change.
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for 200 years each new group, america says we're now perfect, we're going to pull up the drawbridge because the next group, the germans, french, italians, irish, jews, chinese, japanese, they'll degrade our culture, all of the rhetoric, all of the hate, all of the nativism being focused on muslims and to some extent latinos today we've heard periodically -- >> as reverend king said, history does nothing. the spend lum sometimes doesn't swing naturally. we push it. in america the great battle has always been between the forces of inclusiveness and the forces of -- >> let me just ask -- >> in the end -- >> and they always win. >> only if we stand up -- >> let me ask you this -- >> okay. >> the problem is what happens to those until we get to -- >> all right. we have a very real case study to test this out. president obama and the matter of his faith. there are according to a poll some 18% of the country which believes he's a muslim. he said he's not.
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he's not. he's a christian, and much of it, frankly, comes from the right. what should people be doing? do you support people who say and question his faith? >> no, i think they're irrational and a little unbalanced. i have no doubt whatsoever that barack obama is a very typical 21st century main line protestant. he comes -- he was converted to the christian faith as he says by reverend wright. he's a member as far as i know of the united church of christ and he doesn't sound any different to me than -- >> so shouldn't -- >> the problem with that, though, is that the 18% that believe it believe it and believe it's a bad thing. i mean it's not that they just believe it, but they believe it as a bad thing, and that's the problem. and a lot of them i would argue probably were the same ones that were denouncing him for being a member of reverend wright's church. how do you one election season you're in the wrong christian church and the next election season you're not a christian and you're the same guy?
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>> you may have the cart before the horse. >> are you saying -- >> i'm saying it's biased. i think certainly against islam. i don't -- >> since a lot of people have brought this up, and you've just said it's irrational, do you think people like yourself and others should just go out and say enough already, everybody? >> i do it already. the idea he wasn't born in hawaii and the idea he's a muslim is just flat nuts. >> but the word muslim is a code word, and it's a metaphor. it's a metaphor for racism. it's a metaphor for he's different from us, he's not like us. he has this funny name as he says all the time and he's an alien on some level but this goes back to our earlier discussion, that there has always been a strain of america that wants to exclude the other. exclude someone that's different. >> but the bad part about this -- >> in the long run the forces of inclusion -- >> but for the bad part about this is that it's acceptable to
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say that he's a muslim because the same people won't say, i don't like him because he's black so it's -- and the fact that it's acceptable to dislike him because he's a muslim is the problem that you are talking about. >> racism has no place in our public square or our political conversation. >> we've killed it as a public issue. >> as something -- you cannot say it without being called on the carpet. >> you say that people personally are becoming more tolerant but in the politics much more polarized. >> absolutely, christiane. i mean you look at washington and it looks like baghdad some days. i mean in terms of the jihadist mentality. >> but just words. just words. >> but when you look at individualized, particularly young people, first time in american history just a few weeks ago a majority of americans approved of same-sex marriage. you ask young people about interracial marriage, 90%, 90% of people under 30 say it would be fine with them if a member of their family married someone of another race, so you have a
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disconnect in america. on the official level there's very heated and intolerant words but day to day, family by family, marriage by marriage, kitchen table by kitchen table people are becoming more tolerant. >> thank you. thank you very much, indeed. when we return, a woman who is saving souls one song at a time. ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ [ male announcer ] doctors have been saying it forever. let's take a look. but they've never actually been able to do it like this. let's take a look. v-scan from ge healthcare. a pocket sized imaging device that will help change the way doctors see patients. that's better health for more people.
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♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] with amazing innovation, driven by relentless competition, wireless puts the world at your command. ♪ and here's what we did today in homes all across america: we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks
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and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at anga.us. as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season we are reminded that there's something about the resurrection, something about the resurrection of our savior jesus christ that puts everything else in perspective. >> this easter we bring you the story of one woman who's trying to resurrect an entire community.
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♪ blessed be the name of the lord ♪ >> vy higginsen founded the gospel for teens choir in harlem as a way to connect young african-americans to their history. along the way many of them found their own voices, as well. ♪ praise them praise them >> today she tells us how she ministers through music. vy, thank you for joining us. tell me what easter means to you and to the teen gospel choir. >> well, easter is a form of renewal, resurrection, forgiveness and faith. that's what it means to me. and it's like the music, easter in a way. ♪ this morning ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ alleluia >> the music allows us to tap
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into that part of ourselves that gives us a place of hope, of forgiveness, of possibility, and gospel music has that kind of power to transcend our present circumstances and move us to a higher level of consciousness. >> so many people are in tough present circumstances. people are looking for hope, some light in the darkness that many face today. how does your music do that? how does it do that for the kids that come here? >> i believe that the music of gospel allows us to hear the lyrics. ♪ grateful grateful faithful in our god ♪ >> if you say that there is a better tomorrow, encourage my soul and let us journey on, those words help us.
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>> gospel is so uniquely american, it's such a part of this country's history. did those kids know about it? >> well, you know, some may know and some may not. but what i think they realize once they get here is that they feel something different and they're drawn to come back and that's what i love because they're sitting on the edge of their seats ready to receive the music as it comes from the music masters. ♪ hope now hope there it is ♪ way down ♪ battle battle let my people go ♪ >> i often say that the music that was born out of the american experience was the first right that
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african-americans had in this country and that music then allowed us to communicate with each other. when we could not do other things like learn to read or be educated or travel or have religion, the music was allowed and that music then became a tool of communication. >> tell me a little about the kids who come here. some of them i know come from troubled backgrounds. some of them have endured all sorts of hardships, whether physical or emotional. who are they, these children who come here? what are you trying to give them? >> well, they're from 13 to 19 years old, and i especially wanted teens to come to this program because i think that's the troubled time, and we like them to know who they are and where they come from musically and tell a story of a people in song. ♪ jesus is my everything ♪ alleluia
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>> i say, you know, i know you have baggage. i know there are things that are wrong. i know that, you know, you will take a blow and you'll be disappointed because that's just part of life, and there may be some suffering, but i want to get to that side of you where you can live for just a few moments to understand that this time is for you. this is the time to explore and discover you and what's inside of you musically, that you will discover something that you didn't know before about yourself and about music and about the power of the music to touch and to heal and to forgive and forget. >> the kids when they leave here or throughout their time with you, does it -- they obviously form a bond in here, they form a bond with each other, with you, with the music. does it translate, do you think, to the community afterwards, in other words, does it
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enrich the community after the lessons? >> you know, i believe it enriches the community after the children sing. these young people have made a choice. they could be somewhere else on a saturday morning. they could be doing something else and maybe something else not as positive as what they're doing here. i believe that we have an effect on the community as we go around and we sing inside of the community. >> vy, what do you get out of this personally? >> you know, there's not a saturday morning that i get up that i don't want to be here with these kids. if the music is feeding them, they're feeding me. i feel encouraged. i feel nurtured. i feel guided. ♪ let them go let them go let them go let them go ♪ ♪ let them go >> i feel a sense of hope and possibility while they're singing this music that they will make good choices, and they will become future leaders in america. ♪ let my people go
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>> vy and her choir make more of that beautiful music when we return.
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what exactly is "it" that they have? logistics. a level playing field. it's not fair. ♪ i've seen the sunrise paint the desert. witnessed snowfall on the first day of spring. ♪ but the most beautiful thing i've ever seen was the image on a screen that helped our doctor see my wife's cancer was treatable. [ male announcer ] ge technologies help doctors detect cancer early so they can save more lives. bringing better health to more people. ♪ we thought we'd leave you this easter sunday with more of those inspiring sounds of vy higginsen's gospel for teens choir. thank you for joining us here at the historic plymouth church of
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the pilgrims, and you can follow us online at abcnews.com. join the debate with me on facebook and twitter. and for the latest on all of today's news, be sure to watch "world news with david muir" later. for all of us here at abc news, happy easter. ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ alleluia alleluia alleluia alleluia ♪ ♪ alleluia alleluia alleluia alleluia alleluia ♪ ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ alleluia alleluia ♪ alleluia
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